Recently on our divorce forum a user asked, “I live in Texas and my husband has cheated on me and left me for another woman. I am wondering how Texas property distribution laws will affect how our property will be divided after the divorce. I own a home that was left to me by my parents. Do I have to split that property with him?”
Distribution of property after divorce
States have different laws regarding the distribution of property following a divorce. For this reason it’s imperative that you not only understand the laws of your state, but you also talk to a divorce lawyer who can review your assets and property and help you determine what you may eligible to keep.
Texas is a community property state, which means that all of the property that you and your spouse bought or acquired during the marriage is considered “community property” and will be split in half after the divorce. Debts incurred by either spouse will also be community debts.
Courts will evaluate the property
So what happens when you file for divorce in Texas? The court will ask for information regarding all of your property and will determine if it is community property.
Now, you specifically asked about property which you inherited from your parents. If you received this property prior to the marriage, it was kept separate throughout the marriage and you have clear evidence that it is a separate property, you may be able to keep this asset.
Other assets which may also be protected include monies received from a personal injury settlement that were not used to compensate the you and your spouse for a loss of earning capacity. For example, if you were in a car accident and you received a settlement for pain and suffering the courts will not divide that payment with your spouse after the divorce.
What if me and my spouse want to create a negotiated settlement?
Although the courts can divide all of your assets and distribute them equally to you and your spouse, some couples may decide that they want to create a negotiated distribution settlement together.
For example, if you have a family home and you do not want to force its sale then you might let your husband keep the home and instead you could take the car and the vacation home.
Courts will generally accept a negotiated settlement which they believe is equitable without further involvement in the process. If, however, you and your spouse cannot work together or if there are certain items of property which you both want to keep then the court will decide how to equitably divide it.
How does spousal maintenance and property distribution work together?
It’s important to note that the payment for spousal maintenance is separate from property distribution. Spousal maintenance is payments which are made from one spouse to the other to help that spouse maintain a minimum standard of living.
If you divorce in Texas the property which is deemed community property in your marriage will be divided equally between you and your spouse.
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